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Firefighters Subdue Blaze at 1904 House, Home of Dentistry

Maplewood Richmond Heights Family Dentistry is the scene of the multi-alarm blaze on Sutton Boulevard in Maplewood.

Last update: 12:10 a.m.

Firefighters from Maplewood, Clayton, Ladue, the city of St. Louis and several other departments battled a multi-alarm fire at a dentist's office at 3004 Sutton Boulevard in Maplewood.

The fire was at in a commercial building at that address. At about 9:30 p.m., witnesses could see substantial amounts of smoke billowing from the building while firefighters sprayed water on the structure while temperatures hovered in the teens. At around 10 p.m., flames broke through the roof of the structure and the roof collapsed.

Dr. Wayne E. Fischer, the dentist who owns the practice, told Patch on the scene that he had practiced in that building for 39 years. In fact, he was the third dentist in 80 years to practice dentistry in that building, a house that was built in 1904, Fischer said.

"I feel like my whole life is gone," Fischer said. "I'm in shock."

The staff of the practice had left early today because of the snow. Fischer noted that he had a collection of sports memorabilia in the house, including an original scorecard from Stan Musial's last game, signed by everyone on the team.

"It rivaled Cooperstown," the location of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Fischer said.

Visibly drained by the experience of watching the fire, Fischer said he was relieved no one was hurt.

"I'm just concerned for my patients," he said, referring to medical records, computers and files that were in the office. The final part of the roof collapsed while Fischer was talking to Patch.

After that, at about 10:30 p.m., firefighters moved witnesses back further in fear that the house would collapse entirely.

There were no official reports of injuries in connection with the blaze, although there were unofficial reports that an ambulance was called for an injuried firefighter.

KMOV-TV reported on Twitter at about 9:30 p.m. that firefighters were "taking a defensive stance" against the fire. Firefighters from the Webster Groves and Rock Hill fire departments were also on the scene; there were reports as well that they were being aided by the Mid-County, Affton, Mehlville, Glendale, Clayton and University City fire departments. 

Sgt. Cavanaugh with the told Patch he was patrolling the area around Sutton and Flora when he saw visible flames in the area. He called for back-up, but by the time anyone arrived, the building was completely ablaze.

The fire was initially reported at two alarms, but there are reports that it is now a four-alarm fire.

Around midnight, firefighters were lowering the ladders and rolling up the hoses. The house was still standing, but without a roof, and every window frame was blackened.

Luke Havel January 13, 2012 at 04:35 PM
As residents of a historic neighborhood, one thing we as homeowners should try to do is understand our homes. This includes how they were built. I am sure this wonderful building was built using balloon framing. This means wall studs run from foundation up to the attic with no blocking. Fire from a basement can quickly travel up to an attic or roof. This was probably one of the reasons our valiant local firefighters had tough task.
Doug Miner January 13, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Thanks again, Susie, and you're so right on both counts.
Nate Malone January 13, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Wow! This is so heartbreaking. Dr. Fischer is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. He was my childrens dentist and has been my dentist for over 15 yrs. He and his staff are just what the sign says 'FAMILY'. I just happen to go to Quik-trip last night and saw all the fire trucks, thought it was one of the houses or the church, but never considered it was his office. My heart and my prayers go out to Dr. Fischer and his staff. Knowing him as long as I have, as my dentist and my friend, he will be back. His wonderful and extensive sports memorabilia can't be replaced, but thank God we still have him. Thank you to the firefighters, who fought a valient fight!
Ryan Martin January 13, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Thank you for sharing the photos, Susie. It's been a difficult night for everyone in Maplewood. We're happy no one was hurt, but we're sad to lose such a wonderful piece of Maplewood history.
nancylightlampert January 13, 2012 at 06:55 PM
OMG! Susan and Dr Fischer We are so sorry. If there is anything we can do please let us know. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. It is as if we lost our home as well. Words cannot express how we feel. You have been part of our family for over 50 years, starting with Dr. Charles Clifford, we are praying for you and your family. This is a terrible loss. I know the items inside are irreplaceable, we are just so grateful everyone is safe. Nancy Light-Lampert, Tony Lampert, Alexis Light, Aaron Light

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